And They’re Off..

Yet again the forecast for this week is wind and rain.

As if this country hasn’t had enough of that to cope with. My heart goes out to those who have been flooded, or whose homes are under threat. Living on the side of a hill it is the wind that I fear, surrounded as we are by so many trees. But yesterday provided a respite of sorts. Sunshine, a gentle breeze and almost warm. If only for one day..

I’ve put cucumber, basil, parsley and lemon grass into the propagator. That last one is something new. Also Echinacea White Swan. I fancy drifts of them up on the bank. The only way to do that quickly and cost effectively is by sowing seed, another adventure into the unknown, so we’ll see how they go. Last year I’m sure I’d started off tomatoes and chilli peppers by now, but the suggestion on the seed packets is to wait until March.


Seed sowing 002 Wm


 Venturing into the greenhouse, the glass panes having temporarily ceased their rattling in the wind, there’s colour to behold. And early salad leaves sown: Mizuna and Lollo Bionda.


Potatoes chitting Wm


Whilst I was out a-pottering there was a delivery.. the seed potatoes arrived. They are now laid out for chitting too.


It didn’t last. That would have been too much to hope for.

By lunchtime it was raining again. But for one Monday morning at least, it felt just like Spring.


2018-02-28T18:04:34+00:00February 11th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Joanne February 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    The little weather thingamajig on my page assured me it was sunny outside, except the the rain pounding at the windows told me it wasn’t, never mind! Look at you with seedlings, I’m holding off until the end of Feb but I will fire the propagator up a week before.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      I’m just impatient, that’s my trouble. At this point winter has outstayed it’s welcome. Not that it ever was welcome.

  2. Pauline February 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    You are so organised and the colour in your greenhouse is beautiful. I must bestir myself and start sowing some seeds. Today is lovely and sunny, between the showers, but we are busy decorating, lovely to see the sun though.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      Only glimpses here today. I tried a while outside but had to keep darting back in, decorating sounds like a better idea.

  3. wherefivevalleysmeet February 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Now you have reminded me that I must think about planting my seeds. The packets are there waiting but the spirit is not in me at the moment.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      Having something to go out and check up on every day makes me feel Spring is nearer. Even if it is just wishful thinking.

  4. Vintage Jane February 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Woo, hoo, we have had a bit of sun today.
    So impressed by your seed planting! Haven’t dared to venture into our bog of a garden for weeks and can’t see any seed planting happening anytime soon, although I do have to wait until the weather is much warmer as I can only plant direct into outside ground (no room for any indoor propogation in our Hobbit House).

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      I have to sow virtually everything in pots and then transplant. There are too many things out there waiting to eat my seeds and germinating seedlings! But WHEN I will be able to plant out this year is another matter again.

  5. Jo February 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I’m itching to get my new propagator out and get some seeds sown but I’m holding off a while yet. I always end up running out of room for them indoors, and my greenhouse just isn’t safe this year due to all the winds. It’s going to need reglazing before I dare put any seedlings in there. Drifts of echinacea White Swan sound wonderful, romantic even, I can’t wait to see that.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      I remember your post about your greenhouse. It certainly feels unsafe in mine when the wind is strong too. I expect I’ll have to wait until next year before the Echinacea flower… assuming they germinate. But I would like to get them planted this year if possible, then they’ll be all ready to go next Spring.

  6. Justine Wilkinson February 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    It’s alternating sun and showers here today, because we like to be kept on our toes, don’t we?

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      An incredible hailstorm here this afternoon, just before dark. The ground went white!

  7. Abby February 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Lovely irises and cyclamen in your greenhouse. We’re currently having a sunshine break, but it’s not going to last, sadly. I was able to potter in the garden though, which was wonderful!

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      It does lift your spirits doesn’t it. I hope there isn’t too much flooding up your way.

  8. Simone February 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    You’re well ahead Jessica! My garden looks rotten at the moment and I have no desire to sow seeds. I wish I had a Ptolomy and I least I could see some colour in the garden!

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      I had to laugh this afternoon. There was a sudden flurry of squawking and flapping and Ptolemy landed plumb in the middle of the flower bed outside my window. Two squirrels were chasing each other in a frenzy round the lawn and I think must have flushed him out from wherever he had been having a snooze. He was not best pleased.

  9. Sue@GLAllotments February 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    I’ll have to look out for a white cyclamen coum – all mine came up pink

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      I shall have to try and grow some from seed next year too. I have a patch that is slowly spreading itself but it’s a very slow process. And buying them in pots is quite an expensive way to do it.

  10. Annie (Lady M) x February 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Wow, they look great …… so organised. I wish I was green fingered like you. Everything I grow turns crispy

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      I can do crispy too.. oh yes!

  11. justjilluk February 11, 2014 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Still have 100 allium bulbs to plant and snowdrops, hope the latter survive, they may have to wait till next winter. But its too wet to plant bulbs, they would just rot. Should I try to put them, some of them, in pots?

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      If they still look healthy you should be OK, but you probably won’t get flowers this year. I had a similar situation last year with daffodils that I didn’t plant until Spring. They did nothing then, but this year are sprouting and bearing flower buds so I’m hoping all is now well. Putting them in pots would save them from further drying out.

  12. CJ February 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    I’ve just laid my potatoes out too, and I’m contemplating tomatoes. I know I sowed them in February last year. Soon, very soon…

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Spring has sprung! Even if the weather doesn’t know it yet..

  13. Cathy February 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Very exciting, Jessica, isn’t it?

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      It is. And I love throwing a few new varieties into the pot, just to add that extra bit of frisson..

  14. frayed at the edge February 11, 2014 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    After this morning’s snow, we had some sunshine this afternoon, but it is still very cold. Love the colour in your greenhouse – I would love to have a greenhouse, but we don’t have room for one.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      Hail here.. enough to turn the garden white and send Ptolemy for cover under the bird table. It’s the first time I’ve had a greenhouse, having managed with either nothing or a converted summer house for years.

  15. Chloris February 11, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Wow, you have been busy. I grew Echinacea White Swan and it is the only Echinacea which self seeds in my garden.
    Pink Fir Apple potatoes and Mizuna- delicious!

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      That sounds encouraging Chloris. Drifts in no time!

  16. Vera February 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Oh well done you. We have not even thought about planting anything at all. We just wait for the next flood!

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      I am sowing optimistically, hoping that the ground will dry out sufficiently to plant. The river may not reach the lawn, but when we were out there today the hoof prints left by the escaped cow are full of water that cannot drain away.

  17. Helen Johnstone February 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    I do love seed sowing. Never had any luck with echineau so will be interested to see now yours do.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      I may be a bit early, but after the beginning of February find it difficult to wait any longer! The packet does say that the germination time can be lengthy, so I’m not holding my breath for the Echinacea.

  18. Janet/Plantaliscious February 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Hurrah, what a lovely collection. I will be really interested to see how you get on with your lemongrass, I grew some from seed last year, and have kept three plants overwintering in the greenhouse in the hope that if I pot them on they will develop into whopping great plants with nice thick stems/stalks/those bits you cook with. I did use some last year, and it smelt divine. I’ve also got ‘White Swan’ grown from seed last year, and will do some more again this year. They were slower to germinate and grow away than the plain pink echinacea purpurea, and certainly didn’t flower last year, but like you I dream of drifts of their beautiful nodding heads. Personally I would ignore the seed packets and sow your chillies, I always sow them in February, because everyone says they need a really long growing season to produce. It always seems to work. Sowing some salad leaves is on the list for tomorrow, when I will need some indoor gardening to make up for the howling winds and driving rain we are forecast. For a change. Hope no trees come down and do any damage. May all your seeds germinate and all your seedlings thrive!

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Janet. I’ve not grown perennials from seed seriously before, so the Echinacea is a bit of an experiment. I hope I haven’t chosen a tricky one. If it works it’s the way to go for filling up a lot of space quickly. I’ll put the chillis in the propagator (I’ve got the single version of yours), tomatoes too I think.
      Tomorrow is going to be another bad one by all accounts. Batten down the hatches.. again!

  19. Denise February 11, 2014 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Sometimes I think one has to just march on with planting. Walking to work today through the rain I spotted leaf buds on hedges and trees, and shoots of daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and bluebells. We started some seed off in the conservatory this weekend just gone. I think that urge was brought on by a sudden sunny respite from the rain, too! Nothing wrong with optimism!

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      Absolutely Denise!
      I went on a trek into the woods today to try and photograph a drift of snowdrops, unsuccessfully as it turned out. But I did spot the first shoots of the bluebells! What a cheery sight.

  20. rachel February 11, 2014 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    It did, didn’t it! Every few minutes, the rain would cease, and the sun would appear for a few seconds, feeling really warm at the back of my house, but alas, too windy for anything to last for long. Today we’ve had sleet, and there’s a dusting of snow on some of the hills. A good time to be planning for the garden…..

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      Oh Rachel, I’ve so had enough of the rain now. The sunshine, even in short bursts is so welcome. I hope you’re OK and that the brook is still down. Take care.

  21. Amy at love made my home February 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    I’m glad that you managed to get out and do a little in the garden, glad too that you are OK and I just hope that the trees all stay put in their places!! xx

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      Tomorrow is supposed to be another stormy day. When is it all going to end, eh? Thanks Amy.

  22. Caro (Urban Veg Patch) February 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    I’ll be getting my spud chitters at the RHS spring shows end of next week – I had some great spuds last year from the same source. I always grow mine in bags – that way there are no moochers in the soil to surprise me the following year(s) and, if it rains hard, I can lift the bags onto wire baskets. (Rescued from the tip when someone was chucking out an old Ikea wardrobe!) Whenever I start my toms off, there’s always someone who’s done it a month earlier 😉 But I’m with Jo in trying to eke out windowsill space so nothing will be sown until I have my cold frames (aka empty soil-less raised beds) in place!

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      I’m really hoping that the growing bags will be the solution to my potato misery. Why is no-one ever throwing out anything useful when I go to the tip? I sowed tomatoes in February last year and it paid off, the crop was much earlier, so I was surprised when the same variety, Sungold, slipped its recommended time by a month. I’m tempted to ignore it.

  23. islandthreads February 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    funny we seem to be posting similar subject these last 2 posts Jessica, the echinacea I sowed last spring took longer to germinate than in autumn, I think I had about 7 or 8 of the 10 seeds I’d sown germinate and I only lost some because I planted them in a too moist position, I found out after they apparently don’t like too wet, mine are the common pink free on a magazine, I think your white will look wonderful on your steep slope,
    your pots of flowers look beautiful, I’m glad you got a breather from the wind and rain, if only a couple of hours, good luck with your seeds, Frances

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks Frances. I really want to plant those cyclamen and irises out in the garden, but the soil is totally waterlogged, so decided to wait until the conditions improve. If they improve. Gardening in the west of England is becoming quite challenging, especially on our clay soil.

      • islandthreads February 12, 2014 at 9:34 am - Reply

        yes I can imagine and the wettest winter in 250 years far from helps!! collect and make that leafmold to help drainage, if you can get hold of any grit to dig in or put in the planting hole under plants especially bulbs, sand and grit help deter slugs too as it scratches their delicate skin (and I don’t feel any guilt when using it 🙂 I’ve not got clay but peat which is well known for holding onto water, sometimes it’s nice to have a few bulbs on windowsills flowering when outside is almost bare, good luck, Frances

        • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 10:33 am - Reply

          Thanks Frances. Grit is a good idea. The irises will be the test case for my proposed anti mouse planting system (wire cages), so I could pile grit into the bottom of those.

  24. Marian February 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    I guess your short period of beautiful rain- and windless weather reached us yesterday afternoon. For a short time it was pretty here as well but today was as it has been for weeks in a row now, a lot of rain and wind. Still, just our garden is flooded, when I see the images of Britain on TV, that is really devastating,

    You’re already thinking ahead, sowing hasn’t even crossed my mind yet this year, I only just put some springbulbs in pots a few weeks ago. Hope they won’t be rotting in their pots, now shortage of water, that’s for sure….


    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      It has been truly awful in the south of England this winter. I read somewhere that if the rain stopped tomorrow, and there was no more at all, it would be two years before any water restrictions had to be imposed.

  25. elaine February 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    No seeds sown yet but I am chitting away quite happily – I got caught out last year with sowing too early so I am waiting another couple of weeks.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Another couple of weeks will make a difference to the light levels. I whip anything out of the propagator as soon as it pokes up and put it in the greenhouse where there is more light. It worked for me last year, but it’s a gamble if we get a very cold snap.

  26. Anna February 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Oh you’ve taken the plunge Jessica 🙂 Restraining myself here although my fingers are itching to get going but will wait until nearer the end of the month. I would suggest that although tomatoes can happily be sown in March that chillies really benefit from an earlier start.

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Yes, I’ll sow the chillies tomorrow, thanks for the advice.
      P.S. Just bought my first ‘special’ snowdrop.. the slippery slope cometh.

  27. snowbird February 11, 2014 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    I loved seeing all your plants blooming in the greenhouse, especially the Iris. Isn’t it wonderful when February comes around and the first seeds can be sown and the spuds set to chitting….Now I do like the sound os drifts of Echinacea….I shall look forward to that. I’m hoping to grow some too. Oh the rain….sighs…ours has turned to sleet …

    • Jessica February 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Hail here. I am in denial.

  28. nataliescarberry February 11, 2014 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    Oh man, I’d love to take that rain off your hands and I know you’d love to have me take it. I’m glad you did get in at least one day’s respite from it. Good luck with your seedlings. Blessings and hugs, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 10:27 am - Reply

      You could have as much as you wanted Natalie! At the moment I’m looking out at the greenhouse and just hoping it will stay up.. it’s that windy.

  29. Casa Mariposa February 12, 2014 at 1:08 am - Reply

    I have seeds growing now, too, but mine are under lights. We have a huge storm headed our way with lots of snow/ice so mine are safe and warm in the house. I have White Swan coneflowers and they are wonderful. Even if you just bought a few and let them go to seed, you’d end up with more quickly. 🙂

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 10:29 am - Reply

      That sounds like a good back up plan Tammy, I fell in love with that plant last year, one way or another I’ll have some!

  30. SeagullSuzie February 12, 2014 at 9:51 am - Reply

    I feel the need to get out and really need to tidy up the greenhouse, but there is just no way at the moment-like you it’s the wind up here that is worse for us.

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 10:37 am - Reply

      I’ve just read it’s now up to Hurricane Force 12 off Lundy. If I were brave enough I’d drive up to Hartland and have a look. But I think I’ll just stay put and make another coffee before the power goes! Keep safe Suzie.

  31. Wendy February 12, 2014 at 11:55 am - Reply

    It’s great to see some of your seeds planted out. I’m behind this year, I’ve only just put my order in. The wind is just starting to pick up here but no rain just yet – it’s on the way. I’m not looking forward to the next 24 hours (and beyond that as well, it seems). Keep safe and warm.

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      Plenty of time, there are still some things I want to add to my seed collection. Very, very windy here now, and the power’s been out. It’s turning into quite a winter. I’ll be glad when it’s over. You take care too Wendy.

  32. BadPenny February 12, 2014 at 11:59 am - Reply

    What is Chitting ? I’ve never heard of it !
    Blowing a Hoolie here & lashing rain – hail yesterday !

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      It’s just leaving the seed potatoes to sprout, like the ones in the cupboard do when you’ve had them too long! It helps the tuber to establish more quickly once it’s in the ground. Dreadful day today, a great excuse to stay indoors with a good book.

  33. woolythymes February 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    you have such a gentle rhythm to your gardening year that i find quite intriguing. i think i sort of have something similar with my knitting—-maybe this is something that comes when you are doing something that you love…..but i’m going to ‘take lessons’ from you this year and try to widen my horizons!!! lemon grass…!!!

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Lemon grass is in the distinctly experimental category.. and if I succeed it needs to be overwintered under cover. I’ve no idea where..

  34. Christina February 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, kudos to you for sowing seeds in your greenhouse! I had Echinacea ‘White Swan’ in my previous garden and liked it quite a bit. I think, when they are planted in drifts it will look wonderful. Hope the seeds will sprout for you and that the plants grow quickly. Truly wishing you a change in your weather! Warm regards,

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks Christina. The winds have died down a bit now, here at least, but it’s been an eventful day. The storms come in roughly every two or three days, so tomorrow we clear up a bit while we wait for the next one!

  35. angiesgardendiaries February 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    And they’re off….I had visions of race horses running around your garden Jessica 🙂
    Well done on getting those seeds done. I do long for Echinacea to like my garden but sadly no! It’s cost me a fortune over the year just attempting them. I’ll be so looking forward to seeing a bank of White Swan. I’m excited for you 🙂
    We have had our first bad winter’s day here, not bad considering we are almost half way through February. My heart breaks for all those suffering and I’ve been reduced to tears a couple of times during the news reports.

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      No, only cows. Or a cow!
      I still don’t know whether the Echinacea will work for me. I bought a red one last year, but whether it returns this year.. we shall see. I saw the snow on the weather chart.. keep warm!

  36. CherryPie February 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    The current weather is not conjucive to gardening!! It is blowing a gale here and the back garden is currently waterlogged.

    • Jessica February 12, 2014 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      I’d have to agree.. today I haven’t even ventured to the greenhouse. Maybe when I go back the seeds will have all grown?

  37. Linda February 13, 2014 at 2:29 am - Reply

    Oh…..I love watching seeds sprout……please keep us posted♥️
    Stay dry…..
    Cheers a!
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica February 13, 2014 at 9:17 am - Reply

      After the wind, rain and hail now we have sleet. I hope the seeds don’t mind..

      • Linda February 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm - Reply

        Oh dear……are the seed pots outside, or in your greenhouse?
        We have very very very high winds and surf today…..
        Looks like a good “inside” day…perhaps an early movie…..or…..gall darn it…..some crochet! Ha!
        Stay safe….♥️

        • Jessica February 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

          They are in the greenhouse, or the potting shed, but the light levels are not very good. And then there’s the wind that cuts through the greenhouse vents..
          The weather is shot, the world over, huh?

  38. wherethejourneytakesme February 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    we had a lovely sunny day here today after all that bad weather. At least you can have a dose of Spring in your greenhouse with all that lovely colour.

    • Jessica February 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Bad weather replay tomorrow Viv, take care.
      Spring can’t come soon enough.

  39. Em February 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Those cyclamen are stunning. I’m back on the internet at last thank goodness but fear it could go again at any time. Just wanted to tell you that the Narcissus you gave me started flowering yesterday – such a lovely thing in the kitchen. They’re about 18″ high! Keep safe in this deluge. x

    • Jessica February 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you’ve got your internet back, I was fearing the worst. The winds are supposed to be dreadful again tonight..
      18″… that’s tall! I hope the flowers are small and sweet, and that you can put it behind something to hide its long legs!

  40. Jayne Hill February 16, 2014 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Oh well done you (she says through gritted teeth trying not to be too envious!)
    Being nearly 500 miles further north I must hold off a bit longer before I get the seed packets out but you’ve made me even more impatient than I already was :}

    • Jessica February 16, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

      I’d say go for it.. The light levels are improving rapidly now. I have cucumbers and basil that have already germinated 🙂

      • Jayne Hill February 16, 2014 at 8:17 pm - Reply

        You’re absolutely right about light levels. It didn’t get properly dark this evening until 6.00pm – yippee!!

        • Jessica February 17, 2014 at 9:29 am - Reply


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